Scam Kings: Ten Series About Scammers With Fascinating Stories

Kings of the Scam: Ten series about crooks with compelling stories


Is it because they are creative or narcissistic? Profiteers or opportunists? Scammers fascinate us. The number of series starring them could lead one to believe in their glorification. We get caught up in their game, we like to study their behavior and above all, to witness their fall. Let's take advantage of the imminent arrival of April 1st to highlight individuals who have sought to be in the limelight. Characters, real ones who really exist, who managed to get past us nasty fish, but who got caught at the end of the line… 

The Dropout

Elizabeth Holmes was a brilliant student at Stanford who was eager to strike it rich. She now has the idea of ​​creating a device capable of quickly diagnosing any disease from a single drop of blood. An idea that allows him to found the Theranos company and to engage millions of dollars of investors convinced that the device exists, which was far from the case. She even managed to cheat the multinational Walgreens before being accused, after a decade of lies, of fraud. The eight episodes document his rise as well as his fall. Last November, she received her sentence of eleven months in prison.

Available on Disney + 

WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork

Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway star as Adam and Rebekah Neumann, the founders of WeWork, the multinational “co-working” (shared workspaces) company that was valued at $47 billion in 2019 before experiencing a crash phenomenal in less than a year. Rebekah aspires to an acting career. Adam is flamboyant, very ambitious, even toxic and megalomaniac. Which led to his downfall.

Available on Apple tv+ 

Inventing Anna

In this series of nine episodes, we follow the shenanigans of Anna Delvey, a young Russian who has spent part of her life in Germany during an internship in a fashion magazine, who arrives in New York pretending to be a wealthy heiress. She hangs out with well-known and well-off young people, extracting colossal sums from them to enrich her own art foundation which manages a fictitious heritage. It is through the investigation of a journalist intrigued by the case that we trace the facts. After being released in 2021, she is reportedly still in New York and has signed reality TV, book and podcast deals.

Available on Netflix 

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

This documentary relates a great scam, that of a colorful and trendy music festival that never took place. It was to be held on a paradise island in the Bahamas. Its promoter, Billy McFarland, promised luxury and decadence, private jets, access to stars, spectacular villas, yachts, meals cooked by great chefs. Everything to attract influencers of all kinds. None of that happened. Quite the contrary. Fashionistas and Instagrammers found themselves in a mess in the middle of nowhere, local businesses in a money pit. In short, a huge lie.

Available on Netflix 

The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman

This three-part documentary miniseries follows Robert Freegard, an impostor who posed as a British spy since his youth. For 10 years, he managed to extract money from his victims, women, to isolate them from their families, to ruin them, to move across European territory without leaving a trace. He was reportedly arrested last September in Belgium in 2022.

Available on Netflix 

Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street

Businessman Bernard Madoff has inspired several films and TV series. Died in 2021, he had a grip on Wall Street. In what is called the “Ponzi scheme”, he allegedly swindled $65 billion, a record in US financial history, after the markets crashed in 2008. The most recent series was filed in beginning of the year on Netflix. In four episodes, we follow his rise with only $5,000 in his pocket as he seduces his clientele with lies, until the financial crisis which claimed many victims among his followers, crowning him with the title of most big crook of the century.

Available on Netflix 

Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.

Sarma Melngailis was the restaurateur at a high-profile New York vegan establishment, Pure Food and Wine. His table was in all the charts. She fell into the hands of a first-class hustler, Anthony Strangis who called himself Shane Fox. They got married. According to him, he would have forced him to embezzle the money from his restaurant. The employees were not paid. She no longer paid the rent. The couple would have transferred $ 1.6 million to their personal account before fleeing. Sarma was arrested in Tennessee in 2016 and charged the following year.

Available on Netflix 

Lovaganza: The great illusion

These are 650 investors who were cheated in what was to be a great human and Hollywood adventure for 24 million dollars and of which Steven Spielberg was supposedly the mentor. A couple of Quebecers, Mark-Érik Fortin and Karine Lamarre would have transferred the colossal sum to Jean-François Gagnon and Geneviève Cloutier who led a jet set life in Hollywood calling themselves producers, screenwriters and directors. If the first pleaded guilty to 79 counts, the other two are still running and are still trying to fund projects.

Available on Vrai 

ALPHA_02: the Alexandre Cazes mystery

The mystery still hangs over the death of this Trifluvien found lifeless in a Thai prison. He was a computer whiz who allegedly made his fortune in cryptocurrency. The multimillionaire lived a life of great luxury, he who had been bullied as a teenager. With the FBI on his case, Cazes was arrested on 16 counts, including drug and arms trafficking. He was said to be the head of the largest hidden market on the web: AlphaBay. His family still doesn't believe it. Was he leading a dual identity? Monic Néron and Simon Coutu studied his case.

Available on 

The King of Lies

Marc Labrèche makes a foray into the documentary for three episodes on an intriguing character: Roger Tétreault. This man would have succeeded in manipulating the media, all media combined, between the 1970s and 1990s. Depending on the needs, he was presented as a nuclear expert, an environmental activist or an FLQ witness. Each time, a new pseudonym, but always the same man. He was the master of the hoax with those responsible for bringing to light various events.

Starting today on Crave